Most of the questions we get are Covid-related. Although most are about compensatory education, and how children will recoup lost skills, or close the gap that has grown during the pandemic, we are getting a fair amount from parents who are wondering if their children should be receiving special education and related services, or possibly modifications and accommodations.  

Having students home for over a year has made parents aware of learning and behavioral challenges that they never knew their children were experiencing. Unfortunately, when they raise these issues with the children’s teachers, they are often met with answers that sound like: “everyone is struggling, don’t worry about it.” But how can a parent NOT worry about a child who is having difficulty reading at the same speed as others in the class? Or a child who cannot concentrate long enough to finish a test? If you think your child has a learning disability, or other disability that is impacting his or her ability to access education, you should request a Child Study Team evaluation (in writing). The District should convene an evaluation planning meeting to discuss your request. They are required to evaluate all areas of suspected disability, so be clear about what it is you are observing. Ask them what evaluations they plan to do, and who will be doing them. After the evaluations are completed, there will be another meeting to discuss findings, and what they indicate is needed. 

If the evaluations do not reveal a learning disability, or other disability that necessitates special education programming (such as a multi-sensory literacy program), or related services (such as speech therapy), they may reveal that your child has a need that can be met with modifications and accommodations (such as preferential seating, or extended time on assessments). In an upcoming blog post, we will discuss what to do if you are not satisfied with the evaluations performed by the District. Just know that you do have options.